What inspired Graham Elliot to be a chef?

I wanted to be able to work with my hands and get a job wherever I went because I knew I liked to travel and thought that food would be this fun thing to do. I came across different cookbooks, especially the Charlie Trotter's cookbook, which showed me how beautiful things could be, and instead of using tongs and pouring something out of a sauté pan on a million plates — you could say, "I'm going to do 50 covers and use tiny little copper pots and spoons, and it's this beautiful, romantic, sensual experience." And then you get into the other side of where the food came from and how do you prepare stuff. It influences the guest. That whole experience is always fun. I think we're getting away from that in restaurants. Eating at The French Laundry in '95 or 2000, when Thomas Keller was plating every dish, is a lot different now with three Bouchons and Per Se. I'm sure it's just as great, but that romantic feeling … it's like seeing the Stones in 1970 versus seeing them in a stadium now with 100,000 people.

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